Monday, June 30, 2008

Are libraries a useless, sentimental indulgence in waste?

Did the founding of Google doom the community library? Is every penny we spend today on brick and mortar libraries, and librarians, an utterly useless indulgence in sentimental, but outdated, technology?

I think yes.

With the advent of simple electronic book readers, and virtually unlimited access to uncopyrighted literature via the internet, libraries are today an inferior way to access knowledge both in terms of speed and variety. Brick and mortar libraries cannot compete. They are dinosaurs.

Better to fund simple Internet cafes where people can access Internet search engines, such as Google.

Libraries today are a more insidious force in our society than that of a simple albatross around the neck of the taxpayer. In fact, they are an antisocial, antimoral, antidemocratic force that should really be opposed by all right thinking people.

Many people do not remember when librarians stood up for the rights of pedophiles to access pedophilia from the public library. Indeed, librarians lobbied extensively for the right to provide access to pornography in public libraries. In fact, libraries today are the main trafficker in pornography.

We should not be surprised by this. Libraries have been utterly abandoned by the middle and upper classes in favor of easier access to all forms of written material via the internet. What libraries have been left with is a sort of bottom-feeder clientele of poor, semi-literates, seeking access to government forms and illicit materials. While it is possible that chronically unemployed persons do need access to government forms and such, they hardly need libraries. Indeed, a free computer at the local police stations would more than suffice.

Do not support your local library. It is at best a drain on public resources and at worst an aggressively anti-social influence on society.


Blogger Kevin S. Willis said...

I like libraries. I think they are a worthy local investment, generally, though I get tired of them (and state parks, and so on) always being held hostage when states or municipalities want to raise taxes, but don't want to cut pork, graft, corruption, or non-functional socialized healthcare--which are the things that generally consume all the money, not the parks and libraries.

I also think public libraries should be obligated to adhere to community standards, and it's in their own best interest to block adult content . . . otherwise, all you do is attract the folks who want to peruse adult content.

At the same time, does every library in every community have to be preserved? I don't think so. Communities, and their needs, change. If nobody is coming to a library, and it closes, it's not a tragedy--it's an efficient allocation of resources based on changing circumstances. If a community cannot afford to keep a library open with raising taxes, then that library is too damn expensive, and should close. And so on.

Also, the perfect servicable main branch of the Memphis Public Library--which was in a neet, late 50s, early 60s style type of public building--was closed several years ago, in favor of the overly-expensive, overly-designed, four story Memphis InfoHub. Now, I think that's mostly bullhockey. They spent tens of millions (if not more) on this thing which . . . contains the same books and has a few extra thousand square feet of space. And is definitely taller. And the perfectly servicable (and classic, nostalgia inducing for me) Main Branch was just torn down. Now there's a big empty field there. Yay, government bureaucracy!

So I'm not unsympathetic with your anti-library rant . . . I just like 'em, and their support falls to the local communities, generally, where it should. Unfortunately, there is waste and politics involved that goes beyond having a convenient building filled with useful books nearby.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Fish-2 said...

Sad. I used to be an incurrable library junkie, always supported them, checked out and read books by the dozens, donated books, bought books when they had sales, etc. I've only been in a library four or five times in the last ten years, and I blame this computer. It is instant access to the world's largest library, organized to bring information to my hands with the push of a button. I no longer read novels but pop in a DVD, no longer do my research in librarys but on the Internet. They were an invaluable community resource for many years, but much like small towns bypassed by the Interstates, have suffered the judgement of a society that has moved on.

6:13 PM  

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